Troy Junior has always enjoyed playing football. One advantage of being retired is that after school TJ and I can go over to our local recreation ground ("The Rec") and have a fun kick-around with a football. Troy Junior has also played football in a school club (after school) as well as attending some junior sessions at Ipswich Town Football Club during the school holidays. He seems quite a natural, unlike his father who was always the last one to be picked to play at school.
A lot of his friends in our village played in the local village football team. Being a large village there are teams for each age group. They play in both friendlies and a competitive league as well as having training sessions one evening a week. TJ was keen to play for the village team but Mrs Troy did not like the idea of losing her Saturday mornings most weekends. Also the idea of trailing to away games and spending an hour on the touchline in cold and wet weather was not her idea of weekend fun.
One evening early this Summer Troy Junior and I set off after our evening meal to have a kick-around on The Rec. When we arrived there the children in the village team were having a training session and then a practice game. TJ wanted to watch them. He sat on his own football, chin in hands, watching the other children play. He looked a very sad sight sitting there just watching the others. I asked him if he wished he could join in - his eyes lit up. On returning home I explained to Mrs Troy how sad TJ had looked watching on but not being involved. It didn't take long to decide that we would let him join the village team. We got all the registration forms, paid the dues and subsequently turned up for the first training session of the new season.
The other players are all his friends from school, all are the same age and most are in his school class. He was welcomed with open arms. The coach said TJ was a natural player and would go straight into the A team. They play seven-a-side and there is an A and B team with about eighteen players making up the squad. During the training games Troy Junior played as a central striker.
The first competitive league game of the season was on the home ground on a warm and sunny Saturday morning. A complete contrast to the cold and miserable weather we had always envisaged for these "winter season" games. TJ had a couple of early touches and passes of the ball but these didn't amount to much. Then a cross came over from the left, TJ caught it cleanly on the volley - Back Of The Net. One-nil! The score by half-time (there are 20 minutes each half) remained the same. In the second half TJ scored again. Two-nil. The other team then got a goal back and we had a nerve-racking, clock watching, few minutes before the whistle blew for full time. TJ was name "Player of the Match" and was chosen to captain the team for the next game.
The second game, also played in warm sunshine again finished two-one to TJ's village team. By now both Mrs Troy and I were thoroughly enjoying our football. Last Saturday morning (26th), saw us arrive bright and early for the third game of the season. Yet again in warm and sunny conditions. Some parents make cake and buns and there is also a large urn for teas or coffees. There is a great atmosphere among the parents. They can however get quite vocal during the games! We've taken folding chairs to sit on but I'm too nervous to sit down - I like to stand and cheer. Troy Junior scored again "a natural poacher's finish" with the outside of his right boot and yet again the match finished with a two-one win. Three games, three wins (all 2-1), nine points out of nine and TJ as the leading goal scorer!
We have the cold, wet or freezing weather still to come but I for one can't wait for the next game.
If only it was this good down at Portman Road watching Ipswich Town! They, in contrast, have had a truly awful start to their season.